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Corporate donations v unions donations in our last election

by on April 23, 2012

The following piece was an e-mail written by MTA – Rochester coordinator, Sam Fedele and is republished here with his permission. He was responding to a query written about how to approach unions with the message of the amendment movement.

Thinking through the plight of unions from Reagan through Scott Walker and the incessant push of top-tier management to drive down the cost of labor the approach became self-evident: the survival of unions depends on the success of the amendment movement.  In a post Citizens United v. FEC world unions cannot compete in the campaign donation game with the multinationals.  And as both major political parties become corporately funded union money becomes lees important to either. Below are the only visuals I used.  The first simply shows the trend in the cost of elections.  To emphasize the gap between unions and the corporate world I point out that Goldman Sachs gave Obama about $1M in 2008 – which seems like a lot of money until one notes that in the same year, which was not a particularly good one for the banking industry, Goldman awarded bonuses in excess of $1M to each of 973 employees!  So $1M for a president is a drop in the bucket for them.  And Goldman is no Exxon Mobil.

There is an ever widening disparity between between union campaign dollars and the corporate competition.  Doing the math, the ratio shown for 2010 is about 14:1, and 2010 was a post Citizens United warm-up.

These charts are killer.  The pie on the left shows the fraction of 2010 contributions greater than $200.  The pie on the right translates these donations into relative weights.  It shows that large donations accounted for 68% of all campaign dollars!  That’s a veto-proof majority of the money!  OWS speaks of the 1%.  But 68% of the money in 2010 came from 1/4 of 1%.  OWS is on the right track but the math is off by a factor of 4!.

Both the Human Rights Amendment and the language proposed by Move to Amend will take both corporate and union money out of the electoral equation, and while this removes management’s main strength, it frees up union money to better focus union power – feet on the street.  Advantage unions!

The union VP got it and invited Fedele to speak to the entire PAC to ask for formalized support.

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